"I find myself wondering again and again what it would be like actually to live every moment of one's life with an awareness of God..." D. Allen

May 16, 2012

Her Life Story: The Short Version

This is little peek into a few moments of Mom's life story.  Mom to eight kids.  Most determined woman I know.  Queen of DIY.  Stead-fast Christ follower.  Spunky with a sense of humor.  Constantly curious.  Out of this world cook--on a dime a day.  Gumption of an explorer.  Most beautiful smile there is.  In her own words:

My daughter has asked me to write a little in honor of mother’s day, so I agreed. I am grateful to be a mother to eight children, 4 boys and 4 girls (some grown, some still little), and a grandma to one very special grandson. They are all very precious and incredible individuals. Their gifts and personalities are all very unique, each a very special gift from the Lord. I cherish each and every one of them. Knowing and loving these people is a very rich experience. They have stretched me (not always pretty) far beyond where I thought I was capable. I am thankful for the privilege of nurturing these precious children. I enjoy them immensely and learn so much from them.  Much of what I’ve learned about mothering, I learned from my mom.

Mom is a devoted mom to 4 children, a grandma to 12 grandchildren, and a ‘great’ grandma to my grandson. She taught me to love in many ways. Throughout the years, she has been thoughtful and giving of herself. As well as caring for our needs, she somehow managed to provide little surprises for us along the way. As a mom, I now realize how much effort these ‘little’ surprises took, and wonder how in the world she fit them in to her busy days. I like to think of them as little celebrations of life and those we love. I am amazed as I walk through my own journey of motherhood and think of things she did in the midst of the responsibilities and struggles of her life. She found a way to pause, to bring joy into a day. I believe it was a choice for her, to intentionally take a moment and make it special, to choose to love in this way. She had a knack for turning a simple day into something really fun, taking a limited budget and providing good food and entertainment, a gift of love. These taught me to ‘celebrate’ in the midst of my own chaos, (I lack organizational skills) to look for joy in the sorrow and trials (the deepest joy is sometimes in the midst of our most difficult trials), and to cherish my own children, a gift from the Lord. I’ll share just a few of those memories.

For no apparent reason, Mom made us a treasure hunt. I have no recollection of what treasure was at the end, but I sure remember my brothers and my excitement as we followed clues and searched all over the house. It was great fun.

Mom provided each child with a little hiding place for a piece of candy or a coin (a coin could buy a lot of candy then), under a candlestick, a mug, a figurine. That place was ours alone, and we knew Mom was thinking of us when a surprise awaited us there.

We lived where we had some pretty amazing winters, and in the days where kids played outside most of the time (even in single digits!). We (my siblings, and the neighborhood kids) loved coming in to our house. We were cold, our fingers and toes were numb, and were hungry. We all knew that we would find yummy food, hot drinks, and a fire to sit around. (my father worked hard to see that we were always warm) Mom often fed us a special treat, peanut butter and jelly toasties with hot chocolate to drink. I’ve found a lot of people don’t know what they are, so I will explain. Take a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and grill them like a grilled cheese sandwich, then sprinkle with powdered sugar. Kids and adults love them. After getting the hunger taken care of, we’d sit around and play games while our coats, gloves, and boots dried (there were a lot of those), then go out and repeat the whole process. My friends were impressed, and I was happy my mom was mine. Now that I’m a mom, I realize the effort and the gift of herself that she gave not only to her own children, but to the neighbor kids as well. 

She ‘let’ me cook beside her. I suspect that her goal was to teach me to cook, but she did it in such a way that I felt privileged to spend the time with her alone. (absolutely nothing came out of a box) Not only did my mom let me cook with her, but I remember a few special times around Christmas that we turned out all of the lights and cooked by candle light! What fun that was. How did she squeeze that into her evening, after a day of working to serve? I still haven’t figured that out!

We had everything we needed, my father saw to that. He worked hard to provide. Steady, serving, whistling. But we didn’t have a lot of extra money, so had to be creative with fun things. I learned from Mom how to take a moment and bring joy and spontaneity into it, to look at circumstances I can’t change, accept them, and find something to celebrate in the moment. Sometimes I just don’t have it in me to do this, I know that is okay too. At those times, we don’t celebrate (to say the least…you can fill in the rest).  These are just a few of the memories that I have of Mom giving of herself. There are many more.

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